“When I first started my entrepreneurial journey, I thought I had to know everything but I was wrong.”

Betty Wong, serial entrepreneur and founder of Stage2 Startups

Today, I assist several startups in a variety of ways, including as an advisory board member, coach and vendor – marketing specialist. In those roles, I help entrepreneurs in a variety of ways so they can concentrate on what they want to do and what they want to know. After all, most large companies have people specializing in different areas. It really is difficult to know and do everything so entrepreneurs usually have to learn what they know and don’t know.

Betty Wong on a Spring day

When I first started my entrepreneurial journey, I thought I had to know everything so I could explain my startup to others, but today’s startups are not yesterday’s startups and we find that many businesses are not exactly the way founders originally meant them to be. They pivot or change as the company gets to know how to best serve its market(s) and as the entrepreneur grows and becomes aware of what he or she does and doesn’t know.  Pinterest, for example, was famously a catalog app called “Tote” before pivoting and becoming a social network where almost 300 million users share their interests on visual bulletin boards.

Since entrepreneurs no longer write those 100 page business plans, trading them off for 7 page outlines or org charts and process diagrams in the current “lean startup” environment, knowing what you do and don’t know is important, because it means you have to bring in a team to help you. I learned long ago I didn’t like to work alone so I try to have at least one partner to work with me. When I found out that Emelie was available after selling her company, I invited her to join me on our blogging adventure.

Likewise, I asked Tony to join me on my Stage2Startups mission because I wanted to have someone with a strong accounting and finance background to balance my interest in marketing, customers, sales and research. Its not that we both don’t have CEO management experience but its about concentrating on what we do best. Along the way, I met some other friends who specialize in other skills, like Lesley for website development and Daniela for social media deployment, Rajiv for online visibility and Mike for human resource recruitment. And then there were the numerous other volunteers, hosts, advisors and friends, too many to name here… Finding these fellow entrepreneurs and specialists have been a joy as it makes entrepreneurship  almost as easy an option as walking down that corporate corridor…

What I realized in the last decade is that we can all help each other, that the collaborative spirit can make for a stronger organization, a better product, a closer connection to the customer. As we enter the next decade, I’m asking us all to work together, to create a stronger Stage2Startups organization together, to share more about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial stories, to make new friends and reconnect with old ones, so we can make a more significant social impact – to teach society that entrepreneurs start at all ages and can be very successful!

PS. If you would like to be featured in a future Startups By Grownups blog or know someone who should be, please use the following link and nominate yourself or your friend…here.

PSS. If you prefer to announce your company in person, join me at this month’s Stage2Startups pitch event on January 16. Sign up here.

Copyright© 2020 Emelie Smith Calbick and Betty Wong

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